Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dona Flor Robusto

I'm back from Brazil - what a great vacation! Perfect weather, excellent food and lots of cigars.

I've got to tell you a little story though...

So we're staying at a 5 Star hotel in Sao Paulo, beautiful place with just about every amenity you could ever think of, really classy. Anyway, our flight back to the States departs late at night, 23:30 hrs, so instead of spending the afternoon at the airport waiting for our flight, we get a late check-out at the hotel (basically paying for a full day), this way we can just kick back and take it easy, maybe watch a little TV, anything is better than sitting out at the airport.
Anyway, one of the business perks that the hotel has is their "Happy Hour" up on the 10th floor. Happy hour at this hotel is wine, soft drinks, cappuccino, espresso, etc. , and LOTS of finger foods - all for free. It's pretty nice. So around 6 PM we had Happy Hour.

OK, on to part two...

We checked out of the hotel around 8 PM and took the shuttle out to the airport. Sao Paulo is one of the largest cities in the world, so you can imagine how crazy their airport is. When we arrive, the traffic is backed up forever, but somehow our shuttle driver manages to weave through all the congestion and makes it to American Airlines departures without getting shot at. Amazing indeed. We grab our bags and head into the building. First thing I notice is that there's a line of people that stretches almost to the door. "Hmm? That couldn't be our check in line, could it?" Oh yeah, that's our line... DANG! So just for the heck of it, we wheel our bags around the corner to see how far the lines really go, and my wife spots one of her friends way up towards the middle of the line. I'm not going to say that we "cut" the line, but somehow while chatting with this gal we lost track of time and became part of her group. Nice cut...

So we finish checking our bags and now it's time to exchange some money back to dollars. No problem, plenty of Cambios around here. Right around this time I started feeling a little nauseous. I'm not sure if it was the noise, the sheer number of people, maybe the smell of grease from McDonald's, but all the sudden I started to sweat. My whole body was clammy. NOT GOOD! After we changed our money back to dollars we had to stand in another line to go through the security check point for our international flight. Another long line and I'm not feeling good at all. I update my lovely wife on the situation and ask her if she has a plastic bag, just in case. She gives me a look like "oh no, not now, you have got to be kidding me" sort of look. She checks - no luck. Oh man, this isn't good at all. It seemed to take forever to get to the security check point, but somehow I made it all the way through, but after putting my shoes and watch back on, I couldn't wait any longer. I spot a big garbage can next to a gal at the X-ray machine, the can is filled with all the bottles of liquid that you're not allowed to bring through the check point. Somehow I think the gal must have read my face and she pointed to it. So in front of about a thousand people I started to ralph my guts out. I kid you not. I hurled and heaved until I thought I was going to pass out. UGH. Finally, it stopped. Thank-God.

We still had to pass through immigration to get our passports stamped. So here I am sicker than a dog, sweating profusely, pretty much looking like a terrorist, having to go through immigration to get out of the country. Luckily they stamped my passport with no questions asked.

My wife said she'd grab the bags and told me to look for a restroom up ahead. I knew exactly where it was and I was off. I opened the door to the restroom and there was an open stall - thank you Jesus! Oh man I was sick - food poisoning. I must have been in and out of that bathroom 10 times, probably threw up a hundred times and towards the end it started coming out the other end. OH GOD. And I've got to get on an 8 hour flight to Miami any minute. Well, we waited till the absolute last-minute to get on the plane and we just happened to be sitting in one of those seats next to a bulkhead, so of course they didn't recline. My luck... Anyway, I was sicker than a dog the whole night, didn't sleep at all, but the one good thing is that I didn't throw up at all as well. Oh brother I was sick. About an hour before we landed, they served breakfast. One of the items on the tray was a little box of orange juice, you know the kind that you give little kids, you poke the straw through a little hole. Anyway, that little box of juice was so cold, so sweet, so good - I almost instantly felt better once I drank it. Of course I was totally exhausted, but I was starting to feel better. Yes!

Jeez, it was a long day though. After Miami we still had to go to Los Angeles and then up to Seattle. Luckily I had prearranged for a Towne car to pick us up when we arrived in Seattle - I love those big Lincoln's - most comfortable car on the planet. Finally, we made it home...

OK, so let me tell you about a cigar that I smoked on Saturday, here in Kirkland. A friend of mine called and asked if I wanted to get together for an afternoon cigar? I said "sure"! So we met down at the Kirkland Marina. My wife and I strolled out on the dock, out towards where the Argosy docks. My friend would join us shortly. I brought along a Dona Flor Robusto. I purchased it in Brazil a few days before. I've seen the name before, but never really thought too much about it, especially since it's made in Brazil. No offence. The appearance is not all that great, kind of a rugged wrapper and the cap on this one looks like a reject, but the label is appealing. I gave it a guillotine cut and lit it up. Wow, I'm surprised. It's not bad at all. What's more surprising is that there's about a 10 knot wind right now and this baby is burning absolutely perfectly. The flavor is a little more intense than my Cameroons, but it's extremely enjoyable. One other little note is the draw - just the way I like it - billows of smoke. My buddy showed up and we enjoyed a couple of pretty nice cigars. I would have never guessed that I'd like this robusto, but I certainly did. Nice job Brasil.
My Rating: 8.5

On a side note - I stopped by J&J Cigars today over at the Vertigo building in Seattle. My friend Herman, President of the 10-7 HABANEROS AFICIONADOS CLUB had mentioned for me to check it out.

I walked through an opened front door and noticed a couple of guys sitting around shooting the breeze. They thought I looked lost, so they asked if they could help me? I said I wanted to buy some cigars, so they pointed to the humidor room down the hall. That's where I met the owner John, he was inside talking to a cigar reps. John's a cool guy, he immediately made me feel at home by introducing himself and asking me what I like to smoke? He then made a few suggestions, plus gave me some insight on what I might find of value. My kind of guy. I bought 4 different cigars and the rep was kind enough to throw in a freebie. Sweet! This is a pretty big store and a great selection of some of the finer cigars on the market. If you're in the neighborhood (SODO), I recommend you stop by and check it out!

I'll be back, you can count on it John.

Nice to be back home...

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